Schools get Shining Star for Tasty Tuesdays

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By Cindy Simpson

A healthy eating program in almost all Roane County elementary schools received the 2009-10 Shining Star Award from the Tennessee Governors Council on Physical Fitness and Health.
The award recognized the Roane County Tennessee Nutrition and Consumer Education Program Coalition for Tasty Tuesdays, a program that provides elementary-age children a chance to try different fruits and vegetables each month.
Educational information is given to educators to share in the classroom.
Tasty Tuesdays is designed to “improve the School Health index scores and provide increased learning potential through nutrition education,” according to the program description sent to the state.
The program was developed to creatively fight the battle against childhood obesity and was developed by the University of Tennessee Extension Family and Consumer Sciences and TNCEP of Roane County, the Roane County Coordinated School Health and the Roane County Health Department.
TNCEP funds the program, which targets Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-eligible youth.
“It is a simple idea, but it is very spot on,” said Patti Wells, Roane County coordinated school health program coordinator.
The program is in its third year, said Wells, who, along with Melanie Duff and Penny Poczobut from UT Extension/TNCEP and Donna Raines from the Roane County Health Department, are credited as part of the partnership that brought the program to the schools.
“It is a brain child of UT Extension Service,” Wells said.
“We started at Midtown Elementary,” she explained. “This year, we’re moving it to all seven TNCEP schools.”
Kingston Elementary is the only elementary school in Roane County that is not a TNCEP school. To be eligible, a school must have more than 50 percent of its enrollment receiving free or reduced lunch.
Wells said they were surprised the program got an award, sending something in almost on a whim.